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Lead Paint Resources

A Comparison of Lead Hazard Screens,
Lead-Paint Inspections and Lead-Paint Risk Assessments

Under the federal lead paint disclosure requirements, home buyers and renters are given up to 10 days (or a different period, if they and the seller agree) to conduct a lead inspection and/or risk assessment. It is important that home buyers understand their rights and consider taking advantage of this opportunity. The following discusses some of the options available to owners to properly identify and assess lead-based paint and their hazards.

Home Inspections

Risk assessments and lead inspections should not be confused with a home inspection. Home inspectors are usually not licensed by states and may not have special training in lead­based paint hazards. If home buyers are planning on getting a home inspection to check that building systems and appliances are in good working order, they may want to consider questioning prospective home inspectors’ training, qualifications, and certifications related to lead­based paint hazards. By Federal regulation (40 CFR Part 745), as of 1 March 2000, lead inspections and risk assessments may only be performed by certified persons.

Lead Hazard Screenings

Owners of housing that is in good physical condition may be interested in having a Lead Hazard Screen. A lead hazard screen is an abbriviated type of risk assessment. It is designed specifically for homes that are likely to be free of lead hazards. The lead hazard screen invloves fewer environmental samples and less data collection but has more stringent dust guidance levels. Thus, lead hazard screens is designed to reduce the evaluation costs for the owner, while also protecting the health of the residents.

Units in poor condition are not good candidates for the screen, since interior dust levels and paint deterioration make it unlikely that the unit will pass the more stringent dust levels used in the screen. In this case, the unit should undergo a complete risk assessment at an additional cost to the owner.

Lead Inspections

A lead inspection is designed to answer two questions: “Is there lead-based paint present in the housing unit?” and “Where is the lead-based paint?” Surveying a housing unit for lead-based paint is typically performed using an X­Ray Fluorescence analyzer, called an XRF. Paint or other coatings with lead levels above the established threshold are considered lead­based. The HUD Guidelines include a mandatory protocol for conducting a lead inspection. A Final Inspection Report identifies all surfaces with lead­based paint but does not provide the consumer with information about the condition of the paint, the presence of lead contaminated dust or soil, or options for controlling any hazards found.

A lead paint inspection is most appropriate for property owners who need to know where lead­based paint is located, such as in the following situations:

  • People considering renovation, remodeling or demolition work that would disturb painted surfaces and may generate lead dust hazards unless proper precautions are followed.
  • Home sellers desiring specific information about lead for marketing purposes.
  • Home buyers or renters who want to know how much lead paint is present and its location (or who feel strongly that they want a home that contains no lead-based paint).
  • Rental property owners seeking exemption from the federal lead disclosure requirements by demonstrating that a specific property does not contain lead­based paint.
  • Rental property owners who might need or desire documentation about lead­based paint for insurance, financing, or other reasons.
  • Those facing a state or local requirement to abate all lead­based paint.

Lead Risk Assessments

A lead risk assessment identifies lead­based paint hazards which are conditions that can cause harmful exposures to lead, particularly for young children and pregnant women.

Risk assessors identify lead­based paint hazards by conducting a visual examination of the unit for signs of paint deterioration, analyzing deteriorated paint to determine if it is lead­based, and collecting dust and soil samples for laboratory analysis. A Risk Assessment Report identifies lead­based paint hazards found, and provides options for controlling these hazards.

Risk assessments may be appropriate in the following situations:

Parents who are concerned about their child’s lead exposure in their current home.

Owners, buyers, or renters who want to know if a home has lead hazards that would likely pose a risk to their family and if so, what control options are available.

Home sellers or lessors who want to document the presence or absence of lead-based paint hazards in their property so as to reduce potential buyers’ or renters’ concerns about lead hazards.

Owners of multi­family properties who may need a risk assessment in order to qualify for insurance or financing, or to provide additional documentation for liability purposes.

When states or local governments require owners to conduct a risk assessment because a child living in the housing unit has an elevated blood lead level. (Note that public health department environmental investigations of children with elevated blood lead levels often involve more comprehensive evaluations than  a standard risk assessment).

Property owners who want to understand the full range of hazard control options that can be used to address lead­based paint hazards.

American Management Resources Corporation

Call us at:
(352) 495-8266

Whoever you choose to work for you be sure they are properly Certified. It protects you and your children.


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